PBBM pitches AsPac neutrality, strong economy


PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. pushed for the “neutrality” of the Asia-Pacific region in the ongoing intense geopolitical rivalry of international superpowers to normalize global trade.

During the welcome lunch hosted by the Philippine Economic Development Cabinet cluster in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday, Marcos said countries in the region should not be forced into a Cold War mentality, where they must pick a side among the opposing factions.

“The future of Asia-Pacific for example cannot be determined by any one but the countries of the Asia-Pacific and that removes us immediately from that idea that you must choose,” Marcos said.

The President made the statement amid the ongoing rivalry between the United States and China, as well as western countries and Russia over its attacks in Ukraine.

“I think we are determined as a group in ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nation] and in the Indo-Pacific, those around the Indo-Pacific, despite all of this conflict, we are determined to stay away from that,” Marcos said.


Such independence and the introduction of new technology, he said, will pave the way for the resumption of globalization.

He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine-Russia conflict have disrupted international supply chains, leading to many countries moving toward “nationalism, closing borders, and protectionism.”

This is about change, he said, as countries, including the Philippines, put in place policies and legislation allowing their economies to adjust to such disruptions.

“It is now conceptually impossible to even think that we could have a non-global economy, that we will return to what we were 200 years ago, a hundred years ago. That simply is not going to happen,” Marcos said.

To ensure the country will resist future economic shocks, he said he will prioritize boosting the domestic economy.

“We have to strengthen our own local economy to be able to withstand shocks such as the pandemic, such as Ukraine in the future and there is an element, there is a tendency of protectionism in that because we take care first of our own businesses, we take care first of our own industries, we take care first of our own economy,” Marcos said.

Marcos is currently in the Switzerland to attend the 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) to promote the country as an investment destination.

Image credits: AP/Markus Schreiber